We all bandy about the term "well balanced meal" and the term seems to have many interpretations. One way to measure the balance of a meal is to be sure it contains carbs, protein and fats, creating a balance of macronutrients. These are the foods our bodies digest and turn into energy. The macronutrients are digested at different rates to keep you full and provide energy over the long haul.
To see why a meal should contain all three,
- Carbs: The digestion of carbs actually begins in your mouth, making them the body's preference for quick energy production. Carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle contraction and nourish your brain. It is amazing they have become so maligned. Carbs provide energy quickly and fruit, containing many simple carbs, will be metabolized into energy quickly.
- Protein: Protein is digested in the stomach, which is why it is important to have some at every meal. It helps keep you full and provides mid-range energy. Protein can help you stay mentally alert too.
- Fat: The digestion of fat begins in the intestines. Being broken down so late in the digestion game, fat can help you stay fuller for longer. Not to mention it is an essential nutrient vital for vitamin absorption, regulating bodily functions, and keeping body temperature stable. Of course you want to make sure you eat mostly unsaturated fat, because they are the best for you.
Different diets call for different ratios of the macronutrients. A typical diet is generally 60 percent carbs, 30 percent fats, and 10 percent protein, whereas the Zone diet calls for 40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein.
So balance your macronutrients and hopefully your energy will stay balanced as well.